The 10 Best Buffalo Sabres of This Decade
Sabretooth didn't make the list, but as the mascot of the Buffalo Sabres, he's seen many decent Buffalo players come and go.
Keep in mind this is a highly opinionated piece on who I believe are the 10 best Sabres of the decade. Before you all wonder, Tyler Myers did not make this list.
For those with a weak stomach, don't throw up when you see your two favorite departed Sabres close to the top of this list.
10) Jay McKee
Though McKee was never a stat sheet guy, he was the best shutdown defenseman the Sabres had over this decade.
A crucial part of the 2005-06 playoff season, McKee suffered an infection to a cut in his leg, causing him to miss the final games of the Carolina series, along with the absence of five of the starting six defenseman for the Sabres. This ultimately caused the Sabres' downfall.
9) Miroslav Satan
Over his career with the Sabres, Satan led the team in scoring in six seasons with the team. It was believed by most, however, that Satan took many plays off and never played to his full potential.
A scapegoat for the Sabres' failures for not making the playoffs before the lockout, Satan was traded the season after the lockout along with Alexei Zhitnik, effectively ending Satan's best days as a hockey player.
8) Tim Connolly
A player who had the most potential with the team after being traded from the Islanders, Connolly's entire career has been plagued by injuries, which prevented him from being any higher on this list.
Connolly has proven himself to be a point-per-game player, but he just can't stay in the lineup long enough to help the team.
7) Maxim Afinogenov
Another one of those "could have been" players, Afinogenov had speed that rivaled that of the Russian Rocket Pavel Bure. His only problem was that he didn't know what to do with it.
His best season with Buffalo was after the NHL lockout, when speed ruled the NHL. Afinogenov led the team with 53 assists and 73 points.
Other than that, Afinogenov had some borderline mediocre seasons, and his final years in Buffalo were horribly bad. Unfortunately for Max, he found himself in Lindy Ruff's doghouse, something that is very difficult to get out of.
6) Brian Campbell
It was a slow start for "Soupy," his nickname, but after the NHL lockout, Campbell became known as an offensive defenseman. Though his defense was lacking at times, he was able to make the big defensive play every now and again.
Having three consecutive 40-point seasons, his biggest criticism was finding the next, as after the 2005-06 campaign, a season in which he scored a career-high 12 goals, he had trouble finding the net as much with the team.
But honestly, are we criticizing a defenseman for not scoring goals?
5) J.P. Dumont
Aside from having one of the best playoff beards, J.P. was quietly one of the better Sabres to play for the club this decade. Dumont's stats may not seem overwhelming; however, he was consistently a 40-point producer.
Dumont was a great playoff producer. In the two seasons in which the Sabres made the playoffs while Dumont was here, he totaled 21 points in 31 games, with 14 points in the 18 games he played in the '05-06 season.
Unfortunately, Dumont's final moments as a Sabre came though arbitration, as the Sabres believed he was offered too much money for what he was worth.
4) Chris Drury
As much as no one wants to admit it, before Drury bolted out the door for his beloved Rangers, he was a key piece of the puzzle in Buffalo.
Drury was never a point producer, but he was known for being a winner at pretty much everything he did. If the team needed that one goal in the final seconds, you could count on Drury for putting it in.
The most memorable occasion of this has to be against the Rangers, when Drury potted a goal with seconds remaining against a goalie in Henrik Lundqvist who had shut the Sabres down all game long.
3) Thomas Vanek
An image that practically epitomizes Thomas Vanek's career with the Sabres—the winger spends most of his time screening the goalie in front of the net.
Don't let that take away from Vanek's skills though. As much as you may want to call Vanek a "garbage collector," so to speak, Vanek has a wicked shot and can beat a goalie any way he chooses.
In four seasons with the Sabres, Vanek has hit the 40-goal plateau twice and has never had lower than a 25-goal season.
2) Daniel Briere
Another one of those players that most of us wish to forget about, we shouldn't blame Danny Briere for leaving when Darcy Regier practically expected a player of Briere's caliber to just come crawling back for the deal Briere had proposed BEFORE he put up 95 points in a season.
Regardless, it was classless of the Sabres to pretty much state that they were going after who they thought the better player was, or in other words, not Briere.
1) Ryan Miller
Possibly the heart and soul of this team, Miller's climb to the top took a while, as he was behind Marty Biron on the depth chart for so long. Before long, though, Miller found his way to the starting position.
As skinny as he is, Miller has proven that he can go long periods of time without a break from the cage, which is lucky. The Sabres haven't had a decent backup in who knows how long.
The only reason the Sabres are in any sort of playoff talk every year is because of Ryan Miller.